PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND- On Friday, representatives for the Hasbro Corporation unveiled the newest addition to their line of family-friendly board games: a play-at-home version of current TV hit The War on Iraq.
According to the family Hasbro used to test the product, the game is sure to be a winner. “You watch the war on television, and it’s all just dots on the screen. It just doesn’t seem real,” said test family mother June Patterson. “But with bits of plastic moving around on a board, the war comes alive for us.”
“We love the game,” said test father Ward Patterson. “It’s educational, topical, and fun. Besides, it gives us something to do in our duct-taped bunker of a home while we watch 24-hour war updates and await the apocalypse.”
The company says it developed the game in response to what they saw as a direct need in the marketplace. Parents wanted a means of explaining the conflict without scaring young ones, and kids wanted an escape from the non-stop war coverage.
Game makers say they developed “The Battle for Baghdad” in less than four weeks, haste the company now says was necessary to keep it fresh- and saleable. “This game’s got the shelf life of a banana. We’ve got to get this bitch out the door fast.”
Hasbro estimates that an early run of ten thousand games should sell out before the end of the conflict, after which time they expect interest to drop precipitously.
The Defense department has reportedly put in an order for several thousand units, figuring that the game would make a lovely parting gift for Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers.
The game’s rules, while somewhat overly complicated, add an interesting twist to what could otherwise look like a Stratego clone.
At the start of the game, troops, munitions and supplies are divvied up unevenly, placing the Iraq side at an apparent disadvantage. American and British ground forces march toward the capitol city while air strikes devastate targets ahead of them.
This would lead one to believe that the game is unwinnable from the Iraqi side, but all is not what it appears.
Each side begins with the same amount of Public Relations chips. For each incident of Iraqi civilian death, the Coalition loses a chip. For every misfired Bunker Buster or friendly fire episode, the Coalition loses a chip. If the Americans lose enough PR, skiddish countries could begin to leave the coalition, removing troops from the board and leaving billions of dollars of unshared war debt.
The Coalition could choose to search for banned Iraqi weapons in an effort to earn back PR, but it wastes precious turns and even then a six-sided dice roll decides if anyone believes the discovery.
At the end of the game, Iraq could still win the game with a clear majority of PR chips and enough Jihad cards, regardless of who actually occupies Baghdad.
Like many board games of this type, group tension, dysfunction, and genuine ugliness can emerge if played for any length of time. The test family we observed during the press event was no exception.
The Pattersons had clearly been playing too long, and the Iraqi forces had dwindled to a handful of loyalists backed into a corner of the board. The ladies were desperate to find a way out or at least some way to silence their jeering enemies. After consulting with her mother, Katie picked up the card she had been lightly stroking since play began. With a sense of drama typical to five-year-old girls, she flipped over the palm-sized piece of card stock and scanned her opponents’ faces for their horrified expressions.
“Eat hot Anthrax, infidels!” she shouted. “Booyah!”
Both she and her mother understood the price associated with such a move. They forfeited all their PR chips to the Americans and waited for the next move. After a quick recount of the Coalition PR stockpile, the Americans discovered they now had just enough to afford to play their own trump card: Sheet of Glass.
In a few moments it was all over. The entire board was blackened and scorched with a glowing green haze hanging over the landscape. Both Ward and June agreed to call the game a tie since both sides had officially lost.
In the end none of that mattered because just then Ward’s wrist watch alarm sounded, signaling that another CentCom briefing would begin to air in thirty seconds.
SEND LETTERS OF PROTEST SUCH AS THIS ONE TO HASBRO
Hasbro with its game, War on Iraq, has decided to create a game that
insults the memory of those who died due to the war crimes of Geogre
Bush and Tony Blair. It is bad enough that thouands of civilians have
died, but now you are going to make a game out of it. HASBRO will be
boycotted and/or targeted in the media, through picket lines and other
direct action in front of stores and your corporate headquarters and
distributors as a result of this horrible decision. You are urged to
rethink this disgusting move.
Follow SONY’s move or kiss your Japanese customers goodbye.
We will not rest until you have abandoned this nonsense.
Japan Human Rights Appeal Co-founder